Saturday 01 Nov 2014

Information and opinions presented here do not always represent the views of the American Heart Association.

Simple Science @Heart: Drink wine to reduce high blood pressure – just leave out the alcohol

Published: 3:00 pm CDT, September 6, 2012

Good news for you red wine lovers: New research shows that a few glasses a day may lower your blood pressure significantly. And now for the bad news: It only works with non-alcoholic wine.

The study found that three glasses a day over four weeks led to a significant drop in blood pressure in men who had heart disease risk factors.  Over that same period, men who had three glasses of red wine (with alcohol) or three ounces of gin saw no change in their blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

Although both red wine and non-alcoholic red wine contain polyphenols, an antioxidant that decreases blood pressure, the researchers say that the alcohol weakens the polyphenols’ ability to lower blood pressure.

The researchers said nonalcoholic red wine may lower risk of heart disease by 14 percent and stroke by as much as 20 percent, based on their study results.

Many studies have suggested alcohol, especially red wine, may be associated with lower heart disease risk for some people. The American Heart Association does not recommend drinking alcohol for potential health benefits.


Related Information:


Photography: red wine splash \

  • Brad Catura

    Could it be also that 3 glasses of wine or 3 shots of Gin, is enough to cause intoxication in the men, who then make bad lifestyle choices, which lead to the hypertension not being lowered? What certified lab tests were run to show how alcohol destroys polyphenols?

    • Krisleigh

      Great questions, Brad. I check with the researcher to answer your questions. I’ve included the response below:

      It is important to mention that the beneficial cardiovascular effects of moderate alcohol consumption (especially red wine) are in the context of a meal. The beneficial effects of moderate alcohol consumption disappear when drinking without eating. Therefore, two glasses (or one in women) a day can go with lunch and dinner. Drinking more than two glasses a day is never a healthy practice. Nevertheless, I don’t know if really 3 glasses of wine (45g alcohol/day approximately) are enough to cause intoxication, because I’ve read in the scientific literature clinical trials performed with 40g/day of alcohol without having short-term unhealthy effects.

      Regarding the second question, alcohol does not “destroy” polyphenols, because we observed that in other parameters related to atherosclerosis, alcohol does not interfere with the health effects of red wine polyphenols (Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Feb;95(2):326-34). In the case of blood pressure, gin consumption (or alcohol) has a “neutral” effect (it does not raise or decrease blood pressure), although overturns the effects of polyphenols only in blood pressure. But this only happens with blood pressure, not with other cardiovascular risk factors.

      • Mohamed

        Drinking occasionally won’t hurt you, but reluagr alcohol consuming will not only increase your weight, but it will have long term side effects on your body. Remember that along with alcohol you might be consuming fried items or food that is high in calories, which will only make body building a longer and harder process.Start off by reducing your drink from everyday to twice or thrice a week. Gradually decrease it even more. Social drinking, once in a while, wont hurt you.Hope that helps : +13Was this answer helpful?